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13 July 2011

Salad Meals

I really didn't even want to put the word "salad" in the title of this post because it's such a cliche word.  I think the 90's (maybe the 80's- i was a fetus) gave this word a bad name.  I swear I can remember thinking as a young child, "eat a salad, lose weight." Sad.  What's even more crazy sad is real people thinking "as long as there is lettuce somewhere in there, it's healthy."  No, silly-pants, tons of cheese and meat and bacon and a cup of blue cheese dressing on lettuce is not healthy.  And the whole connotation that goes along with a lady saying, "i'll just have a salad" is silly.  Salads can be meals, people, delicious, healthy filling meals.  So, while I continue to think of a better name for salads, enjoy some of my favorite lettuce concoctions below.  Also, I'm not putting dressing suggestions, but think healthy people, extra-virgin olive oil, other oils and vinegars, or, simply, a mashed-up avocado.
I always start with romaine or romaine hearts or other combos of crunchy lettuces. I like crunch. And I despise baby lettuces. Except baby spinach. I don't know why, but most baby lettuces make me want to vomit.  I'm being dramatic.
And then, depending on how I'm feeling that day, I add the following combos (or sub-combos):

1. Tex-Mex

Black Beans (drained and rinsed) or Warm Refried Beans (some find this weird. I find it amazing)
a smidgen of pepper jack
Black Olives
White Onions
Green Bell Pepper
Your favorite homemade salsa
Spritz of Lime

2. Grainy (in the good way)

Chilled (or Warm) Plain Cous Cous (or other grain you like)
Grape tomatoes
Red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
smidgen of feta
Little Lemon Juice

3. Fruity

(Start with Spinach here)
really, any berries
Green apple
Oranges are delish, too

4. Intense Flavors (use a toothbrush after this one, folks)

Kalamata Olives
Green Olives
Red Onion
Bell Pepper
Bean Sprouts

5. Summer

Green Beans
Spritz of Lemon

12 July 2011

Yum-Fest Summer Dish

I am addicted to avocados and guacamole.
Serious addiction.
On my vegan days, it's all I want to eat.
And I usually do.
So, when I saw this "salad" recipe on the WholeFoods website, I was seriously convinced that someone had crawled inside my brain (stomach) and made a "salad" I would fall in love with.  Informative aside, I'm using quotes around "salad" because to me, this is just a pre-mixed up guac that is so deliciously chunky and marvelous... and a little magical.

Avocado and Grape Tomato "Salad"

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved 
chopped cilantro, to taste

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 white onion, chopped
2 avocados, chopped 
Coarse or Sea Salt

Mix, Enjoy. Eat with a fork 
or with homemade tortillas 
or on top of pretty much anything.

My Food Rules

In the spirit of my self-proclaimed "Food Week" The following are my "Food Rules."  They are not totally my own and acquired primarily from what makes sense to me, from Michael Pollan's books and philosophies, from various documentaries and movies about food and the food industry, and ultimately, what makes me feel good.

image from

1. No Meat. This rule is based mostly on the fact that I don't live on a farm or near a really great farm like this where I can get meat. I have no qualms with people eating animals.  That idea, at its core, is entirely natural.  But, I do have serious issue with people eating animals that were not raised humanely and that were slaughtered in gigantic meat production factories. Unless I can see a cow or chicken or pig, etc. from birth until food, I'm not going to eat it.

2. Tons of Veggies and Fruits. Why try to fill ourselves with empty calories and "treats" when there is an abundance of delicious in the produce department? Seriously, I have grown to love Veggies and Fruits and rarely find myself buying anything outside of the Produce department.

3. Buy Seasonally. Buy what is in season - it's usually cheaper and healthier for the environment (i.e. less fossil fuels used getting an orange from chile or spain to cleveland in the middle of February). Also, it just makes sense to eat root vegetables in winter, asparagus and peas in spring, tons of citrus in the summer, and pumpkins and gourds in the fall.

image from

4. Buy Locally. Again, we can all reduce our carbon footprint if we buy things to eat that are local.  Or even from the U.S.  Often it costs a little more to support the mom & pop bakery or the blueberry farm down the road or the fishermen in the Gulf, or the Citrus farmers in the Rio Grande Valley.  But seriously, local always seems to taste better.  I am constantly finding amazing Texas foods that are some of the best things I've tasted... ever. Search out your local vendors. It's delicious.

5. Buy Organics. As often as I can, I buy organically. I totally get that a lot of the organic farms are HUGE conglomerate farms in California and a lot of the produce is really not that much different from conventional produce. But, the extra (possibly false) security I get from eating an organic apple rather than a conventional apple is worth the extra cost.  Seriously, there is some crazy stuff getting sprayed on those plants sometimes.

6. Nothing out of a Box or a Can. Caveat up front: I do not apply this rule to pasta (like, real pasta folks) and some teas that for selling sake have to be in some container. BUT, I do apply it to pretty much everything else.  Simply because "food" does not grow in boxes.  There are scary things put into stuff that at one time was food to make it last for years. Seriously, I do not want to buy a box of something today that I could eat in 2 years.  This rule is the hardest for me, I'll admit. Not when it comes to obvis like pop-tarts, granola bars, crackers, cookies, and mac & cheese, most salad dressings, and all frozen meals, BUT, I often find myself for convenience sake grabbing a can of black beans instead of making my own or grabbing a can of whole tomatoes.  I'd LOVE to make black beans and stew my own tomatoes, but sometimes it's just not feasible.  I do what I can though, and really try to think about what is actually in those boxes and cans.

There are a ton of other little rules I try and follow, but these 6 are the biggies for me. And if nothing else, think before you eat/put it in the car.  We try on our clothes before we buy them, we interview people before we hire them, and we research gadgets before we buy them... doesn't it make sense to think about where our food comes from before we put it into our bodies?

11 July 2011

Back in this post at the beginning of the year, I talked about my continued goals of being a good vegetarian and eating food.  More than halfway through 2011, I can happily report that these goals are being met and I feel even better and am even more impassioned to tell others about what I eat and why I eat what I do.  Today, a dear friend posted on her blog a list of the 47 foods that everybody should eat because they are nutrient rich, delicious, healthful and good for the body and mind.  (Thanks so much, love!)  She linked it back up to the original source here.
This week, I'm going to be a super blogger (until Friday when I leave to reunite in Kansas City with tons of friends and celebrate the Marriage of Corey and Abbey <3) and talk all about food.  My food "rules," foods I love, and ... things like that. 
To start off the week with a bang, here's the "47 foods list."  I totally agree with what's on this list and have already tried to incorporate many of these into my diet, cheers to adding more:

47 Foods You SHOULD Be Eating
  1. Spinach 
  2. Wild salmon (fresh and/or canned)
  3. Blueberries
  4. Raspberries
  5. Swiss chard
  6. Quinoa
  7. Rolled oats
  8. Pistachios
  9. Barramundi (often called "the sustainable sea bass") can be found in the frozen section of Whole Foods & has half the calories, yet equal omega 3′s to coho salmon)
  10. Plain Greek yogurt
  11. Apples
  12. Red, yellow and orange bell peppers
  13. Lean red meat (we prefer grass fed beef)
  14. Whole eggs
  15. Blackberries
  16. Almonds
  17. Sardines
  18. Carrots
  19. Black tea
  20. Green tea
  21. Pink grapefruit
  22. Turmeric
  23. Kale
  24. Cauliflower
  25. Red grapes
  26. Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc)
  27. Coconut (either fresh, where you crack the shell or unsweetened, shredded)
  28. Strawberries
  29. Avocados
  30. Tomatoes (raw and cooked as both have unique benefits)
  31. Pumpkin (we often add canned, unsweetened 100% pure pumpkin to our smoothies)
  32. Unsweetened cocoa powder or cocoa nibs (also often added to smoothies or Greek yogurt)
  33. Pineapple
  34. Sweet potatoes or yams (technically not the same, yet they’re often used interchangeably)
  35. Beans (black, kidney, chick peas, red beans, etc)
  36. Lentils
  37. Garlic
  38. Broccoli
  39. Red and green cabbage
  40. Onions
  41. Cherries
  42. Cinnamon
  43. Oat bran
  44. Beets
  45. Barley
  46. Mushrooms (all types)
  47. Canola and olive oils (replace other less healthy fats with these, don’t simply add these to the diet)